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Council Bluffs loses $273,028 in lodging taxes during spring flooding

Posted at 5:17 PM, Sep 11, 2019

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (KMTV) — The Council Bluffs Convention & Visitors Bureau says the city lost $273,028 in hotel/motel taxes during the fourth quarter of the year, which occurred during the Missouri River flooding.

Between April 1 and June 30, 2019, the city collected $774,818 in lodging taxes while $1,047,846 was collected the year prior.

This marks the lowest amount of lodging taxes collected during the fourth quarter in Council Bluffs since 2011.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau says the loss can be attributed to the flooding, which caused three months of temporary closures along I-29 from Missouri Valley, IA to St. Joseph, MO.

Although the interstate was fully reopened on May 18, a second round of flooding at the end of May closed it again until June 18.

While stretches of the interstate around Council Bluffs were open, many travelers coming from the north or south weren't able to easily access the area, leading to the loss in hotel/motel stays.

“We didn’t realize the full extent of how the flooding affected the city’s travel economy until we saw the revenue report.” Mark Eckman, executive director of the Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau said. “We expected a decreased number of visitors but not to this extent.”

When looking at the full fiscal year, the City of Council Bluffs lost a total of $256,959 compared to 2018. Before the flooding, increased hotel/motel tax collections were able to compensate for some of the loss during the fourth quarter.

“While it’s disappointing to see a decrease in hotel/motel tax revenue this year, the loss serves as a reminder of how vital Interstate 29 is for travel and tourism and how much visitors contribute to the city’s revenue,” Eckman said.